Guide to Setting up a Starling Business Account.

Starling Business Account

In today’s financial world, banks compete for your business, making it possible to score some impressive perks as an account holder. One of the biggest names in business banking is Starling Bank, even though it’s a relatively new brand.

We did a little research into Starling’s history, account features, and fee structures. Our Starling business account review explores the perks and drawbacks of doing business with them.

Business Banking Account

About Starling Bank

Anne Boden launched the UK-based Starling in 2014. The digital, mobile-only bank rapidly expanded and announced a partnership with TransferWise in 2017.

Starling had another huge year in 2018. March marked the launch of Starling business accounts, followed by another partnership (with Post Office Ltd.) in November. By February 2019, the bank offered personal Euro accounts in the United Kingdom.

To date, Starling Bank raised more than £363 million in backing, earned an Excellent rating on Trustpilot, and was voted the Best British Bank three times. The bank boasts more than one million customer accounts and remains an independent, privately-owned company.

Starling Business

The Perks of a Starling Business Account

Starling Bank exists on the premise that they offer security and heart. They list four things that set them apart as a banking institution.

  • Ethical practices means listening to customers and cutting out unnecessary Starling business account fees.
  • Diversity extends to every aspect of their team and their client base.
  • Making money equal entails transparency and easy to understand language for their customers.
  • Innovation first is Starling’s commitment to modern, convenient design for all of their banking features.

It may sound like lip service, but it turns out that Starling Bank does its part to deliver on every level. Starling business accounts cater to every level of business owner, including freelancers and contractors. You don’t have to be a massive corporation to take advantage of these perks.

Business Accounts are Free and Easy to Start

It takes just a few minutes to get started, and you skip those annoying, lengthy forms. Just answer the in-app questions and get started with no monthly fees attached.

If there are no monthly fees, inevitably, they charge you somewhere else, right? As long as your business has fewer than ten employees and does less than £1.7 million annually, your account is free.

Larger businesses receive free banking for a period of time. We could not find a fee structure for larger businesses.

Do you have more than one director? Starling offers multi-director accounts, so everyone who needs to know is in the know.

Business Account Starling

24/7 Customer Support

Is there anything more frustrating than having a burning question (like an unknown charge) with no way to contact your bank until morning? With Starling, business owners can contact them 24 hours per day, seven days per week by phone, or through the app.

Streamline Your Finances

Are you worried about matching information from your money management platform (like Quickbooks) with your bank account? Starling solved that issue so you can streamline your finances by linking your accounting software.

You can also set up instant payment alerts so you know when money goes in or out. Starling also automatically categorizes your expenses to make reporting easier.

Every business that banks with Starling has the opportunity to use the Business Marketplace. The series of smart products and services available to Starling customers allows you to integrate many aspects of your business using one app.

Easy Deposit Options

Sometimes clients pay with cash or cheque, and that’s alright. Remember, banking with Starling means no branches, so they established alternatives. Deposit cash at a local Post Office (there are thousands to choose from). You can deposit cheques under £500 via the app.

Additional Features

It’s difficult to highlight everything that sets Starling apart, but there are many reasons they remain a favorite among business owners. Business accounts function much like personal accounts and share some neat features that round out the customer experience and put Starling Bank over the top.

  • If your card is lost or stolen, you can freeze it immediately via the app.
  • Disable, restrict, or block payments and spending limits.
  • Set savings goals.
  • Split payments via the “settle up” option.
  • Free cash withdrawals when you’re abroad (though individual machines may charge you).

Starling Bank also plans to offer a Business Toolkit for a monthly fee. The toolkit includes a part-time bookkeeper feature, ability to manage and send invoices, record VAT, and submit VAT. The toolkit should enhance your business banking experience and is set to launch in 2020.

The Downside of Starling Business Accounts

No banking experience is perfect, but Starling does their best to appease its customers. There are a few things to understand clearly before jumping into a Starling Business Account.

  • No physical branches means you have to be comfortable handling everything online.
  • You won’t earn any interest on positive balances.
  • There is a charge to deposit money, £3 for deposits up to £1000 and 0.3% of the amount for deposits over £1000.

Starling Banking

How to Open a Starling Business Account

To open a Starling Business Account, you need to be a sole trader or limited company. You do not have to be an existing customer, but if you are, it’s that much easier to get started.

New customers need to verify their identity with a passport, EU/EEA ID card, UK residence card, or UK photo driving license. You also have to confirm your business type and may need to furnish supporting documents, like invoices, bank statements, or signed contracts.

Though it takes longer to open a business account than a personal account, you can expect the process to take less time than in person at a physical bank. Plus, everything is handled in-app.

Is a Starling Business Account Worthwhile?

At the end of the day, Starling Business Accounts seem to work for most users. They routinely score high on customer satisfaction and provide a lot of free services for clients. The app is secure and easy to navigate.

A Guide to Setting up a Tide Business Account.

Tide business UK banking

When you’re operating (or opening) a small business, deciding where to bank is one of your biggest decisions. You want something easy and convenient, preferably with low to no fees, but there are so many choices!

It’s tough to run a comparison, but we did some of the heavy lifting for you. Check out our Tide business account review for more on the ups, downs, ins, and outs of opening an account with them.

About Tide

This UK financial tech company roared onto the scene in 2015 as one of the first finance platforms to only provide digital services. The brainchild of George Bevis, Tide Platform Limited, received permission from the Financial Conduct Authority to operate in February of the following year.

Eileen Burbridge, the founder of Passion Capital, joined Bevis to serve as Chairman. She also helped infuse the startup with cash flow midway through 2016.

The beta version of Tide’s mobile app officially launched in January 2017, followed by a pop-up store in March. By July, Tide secured more investments from specialist fintech funds and announced a partnership with iwoca, a European online lender.

Tide expanded in 2018 with a new logo and several product features geared toward customer satisfaction. Though the company grew, Bevis stepped down from his role as CEO, replaced by Oliver Prill. The move proved beneficial for the company who secured more funding and investors.

Today, Tide offers a series of financial services and tools for small business owners. Everything works digitally through iPhones, Androids, and desktop devices.

Tide Business Banking

The Upside of Using a Tide Business Account

Tide prides itself on being a modern banking experience. They cater to small business owners and serve more than 150,000 customers.

Three Different Levels of Business Accounts

Unlike some other financing options, Tide business banking established three different levels. They understand that not every small business is the same size with identical needs and developed a tiered system to support that idea.

  • Free costs nothing monthly but provides scheduled payments, software integration, sub-accounts, and other member perks.
  • Plus costs £9.99 per month and includes everything from the free level plus additional perks, phone support, and a 24/7 legal helpline.
  • Premium costs £49.99 per month and includes everything from the other two tiers plus several perks, including a dedicated account manager and £1000 flexible balance.

The ability to choose a level that fits with your company goals is beneficial, especially for startups. As you grow, it’s easy to upgrade to the next tier.

Fee Structure

Tide does things a little differently from traditional banks because they can afford to be unique. They don’t charge monthly or annual fees on their accounts. However, customers do have other banking fees to consider.

  • Transfers in and out of accounts cost £0.20, though it’s free to transfer between Tide accounts.
  • ATM cash withdrawals cost £1 (plus any fees charged by the ATM).
  • Cash deposits cost £1 at Post Office locations or 3% through PayPoint.

Administrative Features

If you ever used an app that left you feeling frustrated, you know the importance of a functional app. Tide’s app includes up to date status on accounts, including transactions and payments.

You can schedule payments, review statements, and manage limits. The app allows integration with your banking software, like Quickbooks, and automatically categorizes spending.

Contactless Mastercard

No contact is more important than ever, but it can be a problem when you need access to money to keep your business afloat. Tide’s contactless Mastercard allows you to spend in the UK and overseas without fees or commission (unless using it at an ATM).

It’s easy to manage your card via the app, including freezing, unfreezing, canceling, or re-ordering one. You can even establish multiple team cards to track each members’ spending.

Member Perks

One of the niftiest things about Tide is the selection of Member Perks. The company partnered with several others to help small businesses succeed. From discounts on freelancing platforms (find the social media marketer you desperately need!) to pension plans, to music subscriptions, there is something for every business.

Hint: don’t forget to check out the Small Business Tips page! They cover everything from pricing strategies to payroll.

Tide Business Account

The Downside of Tide Business Banking

No banking business is all sunshine and roses, so Tide is no different. They have a great rating on Trustpilot and a solid customer base. However, there are a few things to consider before jumping in.

  • You can’t deposit checks, only cash.
  • They charge for ATM withdrawals.
  • It is not a regulated bank account; it’s an e-money account from PrePay Solutions (PPS).
  • You don’t get Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection (FSCS). If the company goes under, PPS says they can cover it, but you don’t have a guarantee.

How to Open a Tide Business Account

Opening an account is not difficult (Tide notes it takes as little as five minutes), but you have to qualify for one first. To qualify, you need to be registered with Companies House as the director. Some businesses don’t qualify for accounts based on the industry or what they deal with.

  • Cryptocurrency traders
  • Trading of precious metals or stones
  • Money services, like foreign exchange, loan providers, and gambling houses
  • Businesses selling unlicensed pharmaceuticals (like cannabidiol) or weapons

Sole traders and freelancers who are UK-based may also qualify. Further, you need to be 18 or older with a registered smartphone and have a valid UK phone number and address.

Provided you qualify, download the app, and start the process. You need to explain the nature of the business and verify your identity by scanning your ID along with a selfie. Once approved, Tide sends you a full UK sort code, account number, and business Mastercard.

Business Banking Tide

Final Thoughts on Tide Business Banking

Tide provides room for your business to grow and accommodate a wider range of business needs than many other service providers. Their three-tier approach and fee structure work well for small businesses of all types.

 

Informing your Business Banking Decisions

Ensuring you have the right information is crucial to making the right banking decisions for your business.

Despite efforts by financial services sector and other key stakeholders to rebuild customer relationships, businesses remain reticent to shop around for a better deal, and concerned about the paucity of options they face.

Many of businesses still struggle to differentiate between finance providers and still view the major banks as being “all the same” and so there may be a reluctance to move to a new bank even if the process for switching is made easier.

This is reflected in the results from the first Business Banking Insight Survey which revealed very similar ratings achieved by the big four banks across a wide range of indicators.

For example, for business current accounts, average satisfaction scores from small and mid-sized firms for the four major banks revealed that, on average, around a third of such firms are not satisfied with the level of service that they receive.

There is also little shopping around with businesses typically staying with their bank for a prolonged period of time and purchasing most of their financial product and services from the same institution.

However, the reality has been that businesses have long struggled to find access to the information they need to make an informed decision on who is the best financial provider for their firm.

Since businesses trust other businesses, firms place a huge weighting on the views of their peer group when making business decisions. That is why initiatives like Business Banking Insight (BBI) should be a vital tool for your business – as it shines a light on how businesses are treated when they engage with banks, including key criteria like the speed of decision-making, quality of onward support, consistency and transparency.

That is why this first of its kind website which looks at how well the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses are being served by their finance provider and is designed to help businesses make better informed banking decisions is supported by a wide range of stakeholders from the banking sector, Whitehall and the business community because it empowers business customers to make better choices by putting more information directly in their hands.

The real stand out point of BBI is that it allows you to review the performance of your bank to enable firms to make valid comparisons between financial institutions based on your own set of criteria. So, for example, if you’re a manufacturer looking for loan you see which finance providers are recommended by businesses that work in your sector.
Once you’ve found the right finance provider of the product or service for your business the BBI Site allows you to link directly to the website of the provider in question to find out more around pricing and terms and conditions as well as contacting the provider directly.